Meriwether & Clark's Crossing Cable Stay Bridges, 2003/2004

Big Hole River, Melrose, MT

Satellite view of Bridge. View Larger Map
Down river view at Meriwether Bridge.

USE:  HS-20 Heavy Vehicle & Recreation

SPANS:  180' & 110'


TOWERS:  40' tall, W18 x 55 weathering steel wide flange beam.

ANCHORS:  Sahale earth anchors w/ 1-3/8" x 150 ksi anchor rods each backstay.

CABLE STAYS:  1-1/2", A-586, 1x55 Galvanized Bridge Strand.


Meriwether Bridge, 2004

Sahale designed and constructed two heavy vehicle (HS-20) cable stay bridges over the Big Hole River at Meriwether Ranch, a conservation development near the towns of Melrose, Butte, and Dillon, MT.  The bridges are signature structures in the development, which straddles the Big Hole River, one of the premier fly fishing rivers in the world. Meriwether Ranch is an extraordinary statement in conservation and development.  In this exquisite place the few people who reside there not only share access to over 120,000 acres, but also have the opportunity to share in a common vision: protection of wildlife, habitat, natural features, views and waterways; respect for the traditional uses of the land; and preservation of historic and prehistoric sites.

In this historic landscape, Lewis and Clark wrote in their journals of such nearby landmarks as Beaverhead Rock, Lemhi Pass and Lolo Pass. The Big Hole Battlefield, site of the Nez Perce Battle, is due West of Meriwether, across the Pioneer Mountains and beside the little town of Wisdom, Montana. The promise of preservation extends to all wildlife on the ranch and in the vast stretches of land surrounding: the large populations of sandhill cranes, deer and elk that grace the hay meadows and the wooded streambottoms on the ranch, the bighorn sheep that often descend from the hills, the bald eagles that frequent the corridor of the Big Hole. With its conservation mission in place, Meriwether Ranch will remain naturally rich, unspoiled and treasured for generations to come.

Just 34 home sites exist on Meriwether Ranch, a traditional Montana working cattle ranch and shared community in a spectacular setting. Each resident or family at Meriwether enjoys the benefits of a dream ranch and vast stretches of Montana land, without the concerns and encumbrance of staffing, maintaining or operating the ranch themselves. Each home site at Meriwether Ranch is specifically selected and located to make the most of the stunning views, without interfering with the views or privacy of other homes. This is accomplished by placing home sites in small groups around the ranch, groups that blend with the landforms, waterways and natural features to be visually separate from one another. The deeded ownership of each site is between one and two acres, leaving the land free of artificial boundaries and the residents free from concerns about managing a larger tract of land.

Sahale was privileged to be invited to participate in the development of Meriwether Ranch. Every landscape imprints itself upon the souls of those who live within it and, for a fortunate few, an opportunity to leave a mark that will be acknowledged for generations to come as a notable step forward. Meriwether Ranch makes such a statement, and, for the duration of the project, the Sahale crew was lucky enough to spend time in this historic natural landscape, leaving behind simple, elegant structures symbolizing the Meriwether Ranch mission. Our bridges celebrate the free flowing of the river, vaulting over it in construction as now, without rippling the surface or impeding the flow. We have erected graceful, soaring cable bridges over this river that, like bridges everywhere, impart a unifying message of bringing things together. At Meriwether these bridges symbolize the perfect union of conservation and development.

Mid-span at Meriwether Bridge.
Looking upriver, Meriwether Bridge